Monday, March 14, 2011

Why is the US not Growing as Fast as it has?

A sense of complacency has fallen upon most Americans. The drive to be the best and advance has been replaced with a selfish attitude. People no longer ask what we can do to benefit this world. Rather, many Americans ask why other people have so much and decry it as unfair. Has this thought hurt us? What has this paradigm shift resulted in?

Welfare and social safety nets gained prevalence around the turn of the 20th century. Before that, those social issues were handled voluntarily. Not only that, but the federal government tended to do very little when it came to recessions. The typical response was to decrease the burden of government by decreasing spending and decreasing taxation. In comes Herbert Hoover and that all changes (though much can be said for the influence of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson). He increases government spending to respond to the recession. Eventually, he even institutes public work programs to help the unemployed. Franklin Roosevelt continued the tradition and it ultimately resulted in years of Depression.

Some say that our economy has become more stable because of this control. They even say that spending money on the poor helps our economy. They will point to GDP, but this is a flawed measure because it says that government spending is as efficient as private spending, when obviously it is not. How much did the pyramids cost and how much benefit did it bring to the typical Egyptian? The United States became the leading economic power of the world during the Gilded Age; that is, the late 1800s. This country went from being a third world country to the leader of the free world in an age without government interventions and federal monetary policy. Yet supposedly it is necessary? Where is the evidence?

It was capitalism that brought us the prosperity that we know today. And this was even with relatively open boarders. Coordinated monetary policy apparently was not necessary. Immigration quotas apparently were not necessary. High taxation was not necessary. The FDA and SEC were not necessary. There are many programs and institutions that were not around when the US outgrew the rest of the world; these things are all inventions of the post-prosperity milieu. In a more brutally honest description, these are the demands of the spoiled children who do not realize that it was freedom, not mommy and daddy, who lead this country to be the preeminent superpower that it is.


  1. Spoiled children is an apt description. Once the majority are dependent on government for their livelyhood, we are screwed. I read the other day that 41 million people are now receiving welfare. Couple those with reciepiant of Medicare and Social Security and then the public employees, they are getting very close to a majority. It's scary, Tony.

  2. It harkens back to what Immanuel Kant said about Britain. He described the society of the country during the Middle Ages as children being watched over by their king. The king would watch over them and protect them and society's job would be to respect and obey him. At the time that he was writing, though, he argued that the country was no longer like a child and no longer needed a king, that they could take care of themselves. It was a very radical position for the day, no doubt, but it was true. When Britain freed itself of the stranglehold of the monarchy, it eventually took over the Netherlands in terms of economic power and lead the world. But unfortunately, around the turn of the 20th century, the British people lost confidence in themselves and voted in many socialist programs such as welfare and a national healthcare service. Britain is now middle of the pack. The US experienced the same thing in the 1930s. However, since no other country kept with the free market economic program, this country has been able to keep its position atop the world. That looks like it will decline as our society becomes more and more organized from the top, and the title of "leader of the world" will be transferred to another country. I know many nationalists vehemently deny this, but there is no doubt in my mind. We are just another society going through the same routines. The Romans did it, Britain did it, and the US is next. Only liberalization of our economy will allow us to stand a chance.